Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Guiltless Review: A Sound of Thunder

'Wow! the timestream is falling apart and your staying so cool!'

'Actually, I'm terrified but my face can only make one expression'

Quick disclaimer: I thoroughly enjoyed watching "A Sound of Thunder."

Glad I got that out of the way, because even as I write this I'm still struggling to figure out why. I guess it was mostly due to the fact I got to see it with some good friends and we had a blast tearing the film to shreds. If MST3K makes ever makes a comeback this would be a perfect movie to be given the full treatment.

That said, this movie DID produce a bucket o' laughs & fun, and I for one believe in judging entertainment on the emotional results produced before any analysis of the means by which they were generated. Any movie that made me laugh this hard is definitely worth watching.

In the not-too distant future an eeeeevil corporation offers rich thrillseekers a chance at the ultimate adrenaline rush: Go back to the Cretaceous period and shoot yourself a T-Rex! Much like modern theme park rides, however, the actual risks are virtual, guests are not allowed to actually fire their rifles unless the tour guide (who also happens to be the mono-expressive king of chick flicks about men, Edward Burns) does so first. The whole 'ride' is closely monitored and regulated, because as you know ANY change in the past means we end up catching flies with our tongues in a world that rains donuts in the future.

This movie is based on the classic Ray Bradbury story. If you haven't read the original (I believe I read it as a kid a loooong time ago), you might still be familiar with the premise. Any change made to events in the past have exponentially increasing effects through the timeline creating an unrecognizable present and future. You've may have seen similar themes explored in movies like "The Butterfly Effect" and/or parodied on "The Simpsons."

Predictably enough, SOMETHING goes wrong on one of these little day trips, and the present and future go right to hell. Good thing we have Edward Burns to fix it! (starting to see why this movie is so funny?)

Laughs: 7
The actual laughs I got while watching "A Sound of Thunder" would probably register closer to an '11', but I have to factor in that many of them were courtesy of the jokes my friends and I were making so I can't give the movie full credit for those.

That said, there is plenty that is funny about the film itself. For starters, while the premise of the story is intriguing, this film uses that premise to create a pretty standard monter on the loose action-adventure storyline. Think 'Jurassic Park' with really crappy effects.

In this future gone mad you won't spank da monkey! DA MONKEY WILL SPANK YOU!!!

Then there's Edward Burns himself, playing the conflicted but ultimately heroic scientist.

Didn't buy it.

Sure he may have given lip service to being careful not to alter the timeline, but c'mon its Edward Burns! No matter what psuedo-scientific mumbo jumbo he was spouting it was clear to anyone watching he'd rather be in a pub somewhere whining about whether his girlfriend really 'gets' him.

Then there's the idea that the timestream doesn't change all at once, but rather in 'waves' of cheesy cgi. So we don't get dino-baboons, pig-bats, and exploding beetles all at once. Rather they are rolled out in plot-convenient intervals, just in time for a lame action sequence or to thin out extraneous cast members. One sequence involving the aforementioned beetles and an exploding building is so over-the-top hollywoodized that it has to be seen to be believed.

Twists: 7
As silly as the movie is, I have to give it credit, I wasn't really sure where it was going while watching it.

Thrills: -2
Ouch. I have nothing against taking an intriguing premise and making a mindless action flick about it. But if your going this route, it would make sense to include some actual thrills. Instead the action sequences here can be best described as lame. The dino hunt is lame, the pig-bat chase is lame, the sea serpent is lame. Any movie that can make a dino hunt, a pig-bat chase and a sea serpent lame is just plain lame.

Lame lame lame.

Resonance: 5
If you REALLY think about it, the premise of this movie is an empowering one. The smallest of our actions have infinite repercussions throughout history. Anyone who feels their life lacks meaning would do well to consider this message.

Immersion: 0
Are you kidding? This film takes you nowhere other than to the prison of your own mind to look for creative ways to make fun of it. The CGI generated backgrounds look like your uncle's vacation slideshow (sadly enough they STILL look more real than some of the shots in 'Attack of the Clones').

Investment: 1
The only reason why this isn't a '0' is that I was REALLY invested in wanting to see Edward Burns get killed.

Final Word:
Fans of MST3K movies rejoice! 'A Sound of Thunder' is the perfect fodder for a night of drunken jesting.


Lauren said...

HAHAHA! Lets get the DVD and watch it again! With more fudge! And Jeff an make his MST3K cutout to put on the screen! Yay!

Stacey said...

When did this film come out?

Chris said...

Released in 2005, although it was originally slated for 2003 but got caught up in production hell and well, you see the result.

Roe said...

Ah, I love a good bad movie. SciFi Channel offers so many - did you see the one about the space bears? You really need to, you could write reams.

Chris said...

Space Bears!?!?!

Gotta see that! What's the name?

Stacey said...

Oh yes, I must see this Space Bears film...

Lauren said...

A couple of things you forgot to mention in your review:
1. I don't remember hearing 'a sound of thunder' at any point in the movie.

2. The Redshirt was wearing a red shirt. (Yes, I'm a dork.)

Chris said...

I also didn't mention that Ben Kingsley was in the movie.

Yes THAT Ben Kinglsey! He was also wearing an awful wig and was clearly enjoying hamming it up.

Roe said...

The man won an Academy Award for Gandhi, then goes and makes Species and now this. What the heck happened to him?

Okay, Space Bears movie is called Savage Planet - it's truly a priceless, Guiltless Pleasure in the making. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0790746/